The Catalyst line of modular and fixed managed switches provides speed and intelligence at the access, distribution, and backbone areas of converged voice, video, and high bandwidth data networks for organizations that range in size from small businesses and branches to multi-campus enterprises and SPs. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants offer online and on-premises support for Catalyst family switches to help your organization to design a cost-effective network topology that addresses your unique business needs, configure pilot testing, install Catalyst switches, implement and validate a sound security plan, streamline system management and performance tracking, provide repair and support services, maximize switch performance, and configure Catalyst's high-availability (HA) technology to achieve near-zero downtime, Progent can help you to maintain and repair your legacy Catalyst switches or upgrade seamlessly to current versions of Catalyst switches following leading practices to make sure that you get the highest business value from your investment in your network.

The need for smart, fast switching is driven by a confluence of fairly new networking trends whose net impact is a virtual avalanche of data traffic:

  • Cloud networking and an associated reliance on massive network virtualization
  • The pervasiveness of always-connected mobile devices
  • Data guzzling HD video applications
  • Social media for business
  • The rise of Big Data in enterprise data analytics

Cloud computing is only made practical by utilizing virtualization technology. Virtualized infrastructures slash expenses by allowing very high resource utilization and demanding very little data center space and power consumption. But this also means that relatively limited network resources have to support substantial volumes of data traffic. The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) revolution has created a dramatic rise in the number of mobile users that must be handled by IT networks, and these users tend to run a high percentage of bandwidth-intensive, HD video apps. Social business applications are displacing email as the primary enabler of collaboration and is generating an ever increasing requirement for data. Enterprises who are trying to remain competitive are resorting to Big Data techniques to search through enormous and disparate repositories of information, which as a result generates Big Traffic. All of these computing trends are fairly new, and combined they create a critical demand for a new class of switches that offer significantly higher performance, control, uptime and ease of management than previous platforms were built to deliver.

Cisco's current lineup of Catalyst switches are designed for the distribution/core layers of enterprise campus deployments where office employees must be provided for by offering dependable performance, strict access management, careful segregation, application awareness, and wired/wireless convergence. Cisco's Catalyst series switches are designed to meet the need for speed and intelligence with features such as high-port-count 10, 40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet services, switching capacity of up to 11 Tbps for each switch and double that for each system, an extensive collection of tools such as Easy Virtual Network (EVN) to facilitate the deployment of virtual networks, VSS technology for switch failover with subsecond backup switch recovery and 99.999% availability, IPv6 support, AVC to optimize network utilization, and sophisticated Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities for HD video data control.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Planning and Support Services

Cisco Has Developed Catalyst Switches for Businesses of All Sizes

Catalyst switches allow businesses of all sizes to build smart switching features into their network infrastructure, creating an environment that can meet real-time requirements, scale to accommodate expected growth, guard vital information, and separate and manage tasks to enhance network operations.

Catalyst 2960 Swiches and 3560-CX Switches
Catalyst 2900 Series Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-configuration switch that is compact, fanless, low power, and includes flexible mounting options. The device has eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two 1-GE uplinks and has an option for Power over Ethernet. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX is a fixed-port switch packaged in a compact, quiet and low-power enclosure that can be mounted almost anywhere convenient. Versions are offered with eight or 12 1-GE ports or with 6 1-GE ports plus two multigigabit Ethernet ports. Two or four uplinks are offered, and Power over Ethernet (PoE) is also available.

Catalyst 2900-L Switches ConsultantsCisco's Catalyst 2960-L family includes value-priced fixed-port switches targeted for branch offices, retail venues, and other places where space is limited. Catalyst 2900-L low-profile switches have 8 to 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 or 4 Small Form-Factor Pluggable uplink ports. PoE support reduces clutter and fanless design for 16- and 24-port models eliminates noise. RJ-45 connectors accommodate 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-based ports.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-X and 2960-XR switches improve on the 2690-S family of switches by offering switching capacity of 216 Gbps and providing Cisco's FlexStack-Plus Stacking by means of a hot-swappable module that allows 8 Catalyst switches in a FlexStack Plus stack with 80 Gbps of stacking throughput. Catalyst 2900 Series switches also work with NetFlow-Lite for conserving forwarding data for analysis. The Catalyst 2960-XR Series switch features Layer 3 dynamic routing, offering the convenience of using a single device for L2 and L3 routing.

Cisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches
Catalyst 3650 Switch and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches Planning and Support ServicesCatalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 switches are fixed, stackable network access switches based on Cisco's IOS XE control software and incorporating full wireless controller capability that allows you to converge wired and wireless networks on a single device managed by a single operating system. Cisco has versions with 24 or 48 built-in 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports with Power over Ethernet plus (PoE+), four 1GE or four 10-Gigabit uplink ports, and support for up to nine Catalyst switches in a FlexStack stack. All models provide modular QoS, stateful switchover for maximum uptime, support in software for IPv4/IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and advanced security features.

Because wireless traffic is visible at the Catalyst 3000 Series switch, network managers can identify and assign priorities to wireless traffic with Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution and sophisticated QoS capabilities for a better wireless user experience and faster problem mediation. Multigigabit Ethernet switching supports the high-bandwidth called for by the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi standard using currently in-place cabling infrastructure. (For information about Progent's consulting and support services for Cisco's 802.11ac Aironet Wi-Fi access points and wireless controllers, and Cisco's Meraki cloud-managed access points, refer to Planning and Deployment Support for Cisco Wireless Technology.)

The Catalyst 3650 switch offers stacking bandwidth of 160 Gbps and supports up to 25 Wi-Fi access points and 1000 Wi-Fi clients per stack. The Cisco Catalyst 3850 switch delivers stacking performance of up to 480 Gbps and can control as many as 50 wireless APs and 2000 Wi-Fi users per switch or stack. Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches incorporate 12 or 24 1G fiber connections at line rate, providing far reaching connections, advanced protection, and a consistent wired/wireless experience.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco's Catalyst 4500-E Series and and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are designed for campus and distribution environments where space for infrastructure equipment is at a premium. Running Cisco's IOS XE software, the 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X product lines facilitate virtualization by supporting Cisco's Easy Virtual Network (EVN) and VSS solutions. Network virtualization makes it possible to segment a physical network into multiple virtual networks (VNs) whose data planes and control planes are logically separate. This provides the economy, protection, resilience, and simplified management required for Cloud computing or other scenarios where a single infrastructure is shared by applications and services that must operate in complete isolation from each other. Easy Virtual Network speeds up the task of deploying virtual networks and can be expanded to 32 VNs for each switch. EVN utilizes features of Multi-VRF and includes additional technologies including VNET Tags and an easy way for duplicating replicating routes connecting VNs. Virtual Switching System technology makes it possible to configure Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series platforms to produce zero-downtime VNs with optimized traffic load balancing.

Cisco Catalyst 4500E Series Switches
Catalyst 4500E Series Switches ConsultantsCisco's Supervisor Engine 8-E for the Catalyst 4500-E modular switch has an integrated wireless controller that works with Cisco's Unified Access solution for wired/wireless convergence. The Supervisor Engine 8-E is the initial Cisco Catalyst supervisor engine to enable wired as well as wireless services on a single switch powered by Cisco's IOS XE. Features include Cisco's FNF technology for traffic analytics across wired and wireless networks, TrustSec wired and wireless data security, predictable Quality of Service for wired and Wi-Fi clients, and the expansion of NSF/SSO to cover wireless traffic for world-quality availability.

Offered in chassis with from three to 10 slots, Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switches with Supervisor 8-E can handle up to 384 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, 193 Gigabit Ethernet fiber fiber connections, 96 10GE fiber ports, and eight 10GE uplinks. The Catalyst 4500-E Supervisor Engine 8-E provides as much as 928 Gbps of wired access for each system and as much as 20 Gbps of wireless termination performance. 50 Wi-Fi APs and 2000 wireless clients can be handled per switch, and up to 250 wireless access points and 4000 wireless users can be supported in a two-switch deployment without requiring a separate wireless network controller.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Family Switches Consulting FirmCatalyst 4500-X switches are fixed 10-Gigabit Ethernet aggregation switches that can provide up to 800 Gbps of core switching performance per device. The Catalyst 4500-X can have as many as 32 10GE connections on the unit's baseboard and eight additional 10GE ports on the expansion module for a maximum of up to 40 non-blocking 10GE connections. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks are also available via a separate module. In addition to offering non-stop performance and simple manageability, Cisco's virtual switching system solution on Catalyst 4500-X switches offers increased system throughput of as much as 1.6 Tbps by enabling all possible bandwidth between redundant Catalyst 4500-X Series switches. Other advanced features include FNF technology for capacity planning, TrustSec protection, and wire-rate IPv6 forwarding.

Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 switches are enterprise campus backbone switches that incorporate the field-proven technology of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 line of switches, which first appeared over a decade ago and have been continually improved since then. Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 switches provide the same general features and operational consistency, and the modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL supports the Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T and its family of compatible line cards and modules. This mutual compatibility and commitment to ongoing improvement preserves your IT expenditures and enables you to update your network with minimal downtime or IT staff retraining.

Common features of Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches that have the Supervisor Engine 2T include Cisco's ISE technology for convenient, single-point administration to ensure consistent policy across a distributed environment, VSS capability for 99.999% availability via multi-level redundancy, and the Cisco Campus Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP) to support roaming and device mobility and to streamline virtualization and transition to IPv6. Additional virtualization features to partition distinct client groups and support the special security and Quality of Service policy requirements of every group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, full MPLS, Easy Virtual Network (EVN), VPN Routing and Forwarding-aware applications for Network Address Translation (NAT) NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnel Protection, and Layer 2 geographic extensions with VPLS. For converged wired/wireless networking, the WiSM2 controller Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches can manage 1000 APs and 15,000 wireless users.

Catalyst 6500-E Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Family Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E family of modular switches are designed for aggregation and campus core networks that require world-class availability and high concentrations of 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 GE fiber, or 10 and 40 GE ports. Models come with three to 13 expansion slots and accept a broad selection of modules. Integrated service modules enable wireless management, traffic analysis, and security and compliance. Only E-Series models of Cisco's broad line of 6500 switches accept Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T.

The entry-level Cisco Catalyst 6503-E switch has a 4RU chassis, includes 3 expansion slots, and offers as much as 180 Gbps of switching throughput on each slot. The Catalyst 6503-E switch can support 97 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections, up to 99 1GE fiber ports, up to 34 10GE ports, and up to 8 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports.

The high-end Catalyst 6513-E switch has a 19RU, 13-slot chassis and offers 180 Gbps of bandwidth on each slot, providing a system capacity of up to 4 Tbps. A Virtual Switching System configuration can deliver up to 8 Tbps of switching capacity. The Catalyst 6513-E Series switch supports up to 529 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports, up to 534 Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, 180 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, and up to 44 40GE ports.

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 6800 Series switches are programmable backbone switches intended to deliver optimal 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet services. The Cisco Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed-configuration, compact switch for Ethernet aggregation designed for small or medium-size campus backbones. The 6880-X supports as much as 2 Tbps switching performance and has four slots for plug-in port cards. The maximum port concentration on one chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 10GE ports or as many as 20 40GE access ports. With VSS, a two-chassis system can deliver 4 Tbps switching capacity and support up to 158 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 10GE access ports or as many as 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections.

The modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch has a 10-rack-unit chassis with 7 slots and accepts existing Supervisor Engine 2T cards and modules. (Two slots are reserved for the Supervisor Engine and five are for modules.) The Catalyst 6807-XL switch can deliver as much as 880 Gbps of switching performance on each slot and 11.4 Tbps of full-duplex switching bandwidth while providing up to 240 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports or Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, up to 80 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports. an 6807-XL system configured with VSS can handle 22.8 Tbps of switching bandwidth, 480 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections or Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, 160 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports or 40 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports.

End-of-Life Catalyst Switches Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Cisco certified consultants have broad experience providing remote and on-premises consulting and troubleshooting services for early-generation Catalyst switches for which Cisco has announced End of Life or End of Support. These legacy switches typically cost more to manage and maintain than contemporary products, deliver lower performance and functionality, and in many situations may subject businesses to regulatory and liability risks. Progent are available to assist you to maintain and repair these legacy switches and can in addition assist you to plan and carry out seamless upgrades to newer products from the Catalyst line or to devices from Cisco's Nexus portfolio of network switches which take advantage of Catalyst technology. Older Catalyst models supported by Progent include:

Catalyst Express 500 Switches
Catalyst Express 500 Family Switches ConsultingThe Catalyst Express 500 line of Layer 2 switches are intended for companies with up to 250 employees and provide the dependability, security, extensibility, and feature set small companies need at an affordable price. PoE capability makes it simple to add network devices such as wireless access points and closed-circuit cameras.

Versions of the Catalyst Express 500 and 520 switches support up to 24 10/100/1000BASE-T ports as well as optional redundant power with auto fail-over for additional dependability. Interoperation with Cisco access points helps businesses to build a wireless LAN environment rapidly and easily. The Catalyst Express 500 family offers solid security against viruses thanks to the Cisco Self-Defending Network strategy and Cisco Clean Access solutions.

Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco Catalyst 2900 Series Switches SupportCatalyst 2900 Series fixed-configuration, managed 10/100 Ethernet switches provide fundamental small-group networking for small to medium-size companies. These wire-speed desktop appliances deliver Cisco IOS Software features for basic data, video, and voice control at the edge of the network. The Cisco Catalyst 2940 line of managed switches are small-footprint, stackable devices with eight Ethernet ports plus a single built-in Fast Ethernet or Gigabit uplink. They can be deployed outside the wiring closet in cramped office spaces like on or under a user's desk or in a classroom.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series Switch
The Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed switches designed for small businesses and branches. Available models offer 24 or 48 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, four 1GE or two 10-Gigabit uplinks, and provide throughput as high as 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack technology allows as many as four Catalyst 2960-S switches to be combined in a stack to perform like one switching unit that provides 40 Gbps of stacking bandwidth and that cuts operational costs with one-switch configuration. IPv6 FHS capability guards networks against address interception and malicious threats.

Catalyst 3560 Switches
Cisco 3560 Family Switches Consulting FirmCiscoís Catalyst 3560 family is a selection of non-modular switches that includes IEEE 802.3af and Power over Ethernet (PoE) functionality in Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet configurations. Cisco's Catalyst 3560 is a proven Layer 2 switch for midsize business LAN connectivity or local-offices, offering both Gigabit and Power over Ethernet configurations for high productivity while facilitating the deployment of key technology including VoIP, Wi-Fi, video surveillance, and remote video kiosks. IT managers can deploy network-wide intelligent features including quality of service (QoS), rate limiting, access control lists (ACLs), multicast management, and fast IP routing with the ease of conventional LAN switching.

Cisco's Catalyst 3560 switch has a robust set of features that allow for network scalability and enhanced availability through IP routing plus a complete complement of STP enhancements aimed to increase throughput in an access Layer LAN. Improvements to the standard Spanning Tree Protocol, such as Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+), and Uplink Fast, combined with enhancements such as Flex Links interfaces, improve network uptime. PVST+ allows for Layer 2 traffic balancing on backup connections to take advantage of the additional capacity associated with a redundant architecture.

Important protocols such as Open Shortest Path First (OPSF), Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), Border Gateway Protocol, and static routing increase network scale; Protocol Independent Multicast increases utilization of network resources; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite protects data.

Catalyst 3750 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3750 Family Switches SupportFor mid-size businesses and enterprise branches, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series eases deployment of converged technologies and adapts to evolving business needs by offering setup flexibility, ability to manage converged network patterns, and management-free configuration of intelligent system services. Also, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch is engineered for high-volume Gigabit Ethernet deployments and includes a diverse selection of switches that address the access, distribution, and backbone-interface demands of small or midsized deployments.

Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch includes either the IP Base image or the Services image. The IP Base image capabilities include industry-leading quality of service (QoS), rate-management, access control lists, and basic static and Routing Information Protocol routing capability. The IP Services image offers a richer set of enterprise-grade features, such as sophisticated hardware-based IP unicast and multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is a stacking architecture designed for Gigabit interfaces. This technology is intended to react to installs, deletions, and relocations while maintaining predictable operation. StackWise technology unites up to 9 separate switches into a single functional device, using custom stack-interface cables and stacking utilities. Any of the switches can be any combination of Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series switches and the Cisco Catalyst 3750-E Series switches. The stack behaves as a single switching unit that is directed by a control switch, elected from one of the member switches. The control switch intelligently creates and updates all the switching and optional routing tables. A deployed stack can accommodate new devices or remove existing switches without service discontinuity.

How Progent Can Assist Your Business with Catalyst Switches
Progent can provide the online or on-premises expertise of CCIE-certified consultants who have broad backgrounds delivering Catalyst switch technology support for small and medium sized organizations, branches, campuses, data centers, Cloud environments, and SPs. Progent's areas of expertise include Cisco's Catalyst and Nexus lines of smart switches and with Cisco's IOS, IOS-XR and NX-OS operating systems. Support services available from Progent for Cisco Catalyst Series switches include proof-of-concept testing, network analysis and monitoring, topology design, upgrades and project management, virtualization, wired and wireless unification, network management, capacity planning, troubleshooting, disaster recovery preparedness, and data security testing and remediation.

Progent offers broad expertise with industry standards as well as with Cisco-owned protocols and technologies associated with switching and routing such as BGP, MPLS traffic engineering, Protocol Independent Multicast, VPNs, Spanning-Tree Protocol, virtual LANs, FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), OTV, VRRP, Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), Virtual Switching System (VSS), and Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP). Progent's network consultants also have experience with important technologies including TCP/IP, IPv4, IPv6, EIGRP, Routing Information Protocol, and IGMP. Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified data security consultants can show you how to develop an enterprise-wide security plan and deploy Cisco Catalyst switches so they offer maximum enforcement to your network security posture.

If you require ultra high Ethernet density or extremely low latency switches for a world-class data center, Progent can assist your organization to analyze, plan, and implement a transition to Cisco's Nexus Series switches. For information about Progent's consulting capabilities for Nexus switches, see Cisco Nexus Switch consulting services. Progent can also help you to connect Catalyst core switches with Cisco Meraki distribution switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

For additional information concerning Progent's consulting help for Cisco products, choose a subject:

To ask Progent about consulting expertise for Cisco networking, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.